Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ANOTHER TABOO VIOLATED: UFT AGREES TO INDIVIDUAL MERIT PAY

In case you missed the press coverage this past Friday, the UFT and the DoE have made an agreement to start the new teacher rating system in 11 schools this coming September. These schools were chosen from the 34 on the state list for restructuring.
The new rating system was not supposed to affect anybody until the 2011 - 12 school year. That year, it was supposed to be introduced for grades 4 - 8. In 2012 - 3 was it scheduled to affect high schools.
When the new rating system was unveiled, members had a tremendous number of questions about how it would be put into effect. How would teachers in such subjects as art and phys ed be rated? How would we be protected from penalization for having ELL classes, or Special Ed, or repeaters, or truants? The union officers and staff tried to placate us by saying it would be a value-added system, rubrics would be developed, with teacher input, etc., etc., etc.
Now it is clear this was lip service. The new system will start in three months. Where are the baseline tests? Where are the rubrics? Where is the "teacher input"?
This means that this coming June, UFT members will begin receiving the new ratings instead of the old U or S.

And of course this means that by fall of 2012, we will see the first teachers losing their licenses under the new "expedited" process for "removing ineffective teachers."
Merit pay will also begin. There will be two levels of merit pay, "master teacher," 30% bonus, and "turnaround teacher." 15% bonus. To put a pathetic fig leaf over what is clearly merit pay, they will have to help other teachers. It is not yet clear how it will be decided who will get this merit pay, but it looks like it will be a toxic cocktail of student test scores and administrative favoritism.

Massacre of the Probies?
We are hearing reports that in some schools or districts, large numbers
of our colleagues who are up for tenure are being forced to sign extensions of probation, or get discontinued (which means de facto fired) . We know of cases where this has been done to teachers who have all "S" observations and no disciplinary record whatsoever, because they haven't passed enough students, or even because their students have too many absences. We've also heard that the DOE has ordered that all ATRs up for tenure be automatically discontinued.

YOU ARE IN VITED TO A SUMMER TJC PHONE MEETING
FRIDAY, JULY 9 - 10 AM - Among the urgent issues we will be discussing are how to address the targeting of new teachers, the new rating and merit pay systems, and the betrayal of teachers unions by politicians of both major parties. Reply to this email for more information on how to participate.


For more info, contact:
Teachers for a Just Contract -TJC, Post Office Box 545, New York, NY 10028
(212) 831 3408
On Facebook, look for "Just Contract".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harlem Success Academy Vs. Mosiac Prep - Voices of Parents and Teachers

Rose Annette Jiminez and other parents speak at the Harlem Success Academy attempt to expand in Mosaic Academy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2TpCQSHiWk




The Mosaic Community speaks out:





Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Anatomy of a Walkout at Hearing Over HSA 3 Charter Expansion in Public Space

Harlem activist Bill Hargraves points out the shoddy methods in how the DOE runs a so-called public hearing and then leads a walkout.

Concerned Educators Network Comments:

There was a walkout at the DOE sham hearing to expand Harlem Success Academy in a Public School building on Monday June 21, 2010. Those sham hearings have become a pattern around the city set by the Bloomberg/Klein DOE bureaucracy. They always say, “we come to hear your concerns” only to go back and proceed with their own agenda anyway, namely, close down schools, undermine, underfund, and sabotage them in a systematic way. The New York State Education Law makes the provision for these hearings where communities get to make their voices heard. However, after watching several of these hearings around the city, we have discovered a major flaw in the law. There is no oversight as to the real implementation of the law from beginning to end. In other words, there is no oversight to make sure the DOE honestly and respectfully give weight to the communities concerns in the decision-making process. There is never any change in the DOE’s original proposals, no adjustments that show they really take into account anything members of communities present at those hearings. Therefore, those hearings are pure sham, pure fraud. They become meaningless until such a time when concerns of communities really carry some weight in the decision-making process. Bill was able to expose some of the mechanisms of this sham and fraud at the “hearing”.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7bb1OrfbAE

For background info see:

Mosaic Prep/HSA Charter Invasion Follow-up

Sunday, June 20, 2010

GEM OPEN MEETING - TUESDAY JUNE 22ND, 4:30-7:00

WHAT: GEM OPEN MEETING
WHEN: TUESDAY JUNE 22ND, 4:30-7:00
WHERE: CUNY GRADUATE CENTER (34TH ST AND 5TH AVE) , ROOM 5414
(F, V, N, R, D, B, Q TO 34TH STREET)


Grassroots Education Movement has been building a fight-back against the attacks on public education, teachers and the communities we work in. GEM along with NYCoRE and CPE-CEP supported pickets at 25 schools around the city on the morning of June fourth and called a successful rally at Tweed that afternoon. GEM sees what is happening to public education in NYC as part of the push to privatize education nationally. We see it in the increase in charter schools, the abusive high stakes testing policies, merit pay, the new scheme to tie test scores to teacher evaluations, the vicious and very public attack on our union and the class and race based persistent under-resourcing of schools in poor communities and communities of color.

GEM is working to unite teachers and communities around these issues of inequity and to create a mobilized fighting force that can win something that we have never had: A truly democratic, fully funded, public education system with decision making power in the hands of the communities being served and the educators that work everyday for the children in those communities.

We are building school based committees to address the issues facing individual schools and to educate ourselves and all stakeholders about the ways in which all of these issues are interconnected.

If you are interested in finding out more about what we are doing, if you think there are a few teachers, parents, or other school workers in your building who might be interested in meeting with each other, building an analysis and eventually mobilizing to fight for a more just educational system and you want help making that happen, or if you want to lend your hand to any of this important work:

COME TO THE OPEN GEM MEETING ON TUESDAY THE 22nd.

Hope to see you there

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eva Moskowitz Wants Mosaic Prep Academy- Hearing, Monday


MOSAIC PREP ACADEMY IS CALLING ON GREAT


FIGHTERS FOR SUPPORT



EVA MOSKOWITZ AND CHANCELLOR JOEL KLEIN

REALLY HAPPY PLOTTING TOGETHER!








ABOUT TWO MONTHS AGO MOSKOWITZ WAS QUOTED SAYING “THAT SHE WANTED THE BUILDING WHERE HARLEM SUCCESS 3 DWELLS IN IT’S TOTALITY NOT IN PIECES AND THAT WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PARENT INVOLVEMENT TO FIGHT BACK” WELL WE ARE HERE TO INVITE YOU TO EVA MOSKOWITZ’S WORSE NIGHTMARE A REALITY CHECK OF HOW MUCH OUR PARENTS AND COMMUNITY CARE ABOUT OUR COLLEGE READINESS SCHOOL MOSAIC PREPARATORY ACADEMY AND HOW WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET NO NEW COMER TAKE AWAY OUR SCHOOL. A BUILDING THAT HAS BELONGED TO THE EAST HARLEM COMMUNITY FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO LET YOUR VOICE GET HEARD BY COMING OUT WEARING RED TO THIS COMMUNITY HEARING AND SPEAKING LOUD AND CLEAR ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL AND WHY THEY CAN’T HAVE IT OR THE BUILDING IS AS GOOD AS GONE!

STOP EVA MOSKOWITZ ONCE IN FOR ALL AND TELL HER VERY LOUD AND VERY CLEAR GO ANYWHERE YOUR HUGE SALARY CAN PAY BUT NOT OUR SCHOOLS



PUBLIC COMMUNITY HEARING

WHERE: 141 E 111 ST NEW YORK NY 10029 AUDITORIUM

WHEN: MONDAY JUNE 21, 2010

TIME: 5:00 PM SHARP



CONTACT: CEC 4 MEMBER ROSE JIMENEZ (212) 876-2414

(917) 406-1091


ALL SCHOOLS DEALING WITH CHARTER SCHOOL ISSUES OR WANT TO SUPPORT IN THIS FIGHT AGAINST CHARTERS ARE WELCOME

THIS EVENT WILL BRING FORTH A SERIES OF EVENTS THAT WE WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT ON



We Demand that ALL New York City schools be held to the same standards to ensure every child in the city has access to a Quality Education!

Charter Schools should not come into our neighborhoods and expand at the expense of the District Schools the Parent Associations of our Schools is telling DOE NO MORE!!!!

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS


Friday, June 11, 2010

John Jay H.S. Campus Fight Back Friday!

by John Yanno


This morning (June 10, 2010) before the start of the school day, a group of about 35 teachers and a handful of students and community members picketed in front of the John Jay High School Campus in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY . The John Jay Campus Community (JJCC), a newly-formed grassroots group with members from each of the three schools in the John Jay High School building (the Secondary School of Law, Journalism, and Research) organized the lively picket and rally in just one day. Similar pickets are being planned for the next two Fridays and the last day of school.

The picketers' chants of and signs of "Money for Books not Wall Street Crooks!" and "Let the Bosses take the Losses" reflected the anger at Wall Street for creating the current economic crisis and the fact that our students are paying the price. Students and community members joined in throughout the march, which lasted 30 minutes before school. But before entering the building, the teachers promised they would be back with more parents, students, and community members.

JJCC began in reaction to the budget cuts and possible layoffs planned for the 2010 school year. While the focus of the picket was on budget cuts, other issues such as the privatization of public education, charter schools, and the need to push our union to take a more militant stand against the attacks on public education have been discussed at meetings.

The final chant of the picket called on Parents, Students, and Teachers to UNITE and fight back! Besides the picket, the JJCC wrote a letter to parents urging them to attend our before-school pickets and to come with us to the citywide rally against the budget cuts being called for by the United Federation of Teachers on June 16.

Bronx Science Teachers Tell Bloomberg: Stop Harassment and Abuse


Friday, June 11th, 2010



A spirited picket line of teachers called on Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to call for an end to supervisory abuse and a fair settlement in the case of the Bronx Science Twenty. Current and former Bronx Science teachers were joined by UFT colleagues from all over New York
City in a demonstration focused on a recent fact-finding decision which pushed for "healing" at the storied Bronx campus. Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein has ignored the fact finding decision by neutral arbitrator Carol Wittenberg that found that twenty of the twenty-two math teachers in the school had been harassed.

The demonstration of 65 to 70 teachers carried signs saying "No Excuse for Teacher Abuse" and "Teacher Turnover Hurts Students." Bronx Science UFT Chapter Leader, Peter Lamphere, said "The DOE's disrega
rd of the fact-finding decision will only lead to increasing tension at the school, further demoralization of teachers, and a worsening learning environment for our children. We have no choice but to take our case to the Mr. Klien's boss, Mr. Bloomberg."

According to the annual DOE Learning Environment Survey, two thirds of the teachers at Bronx Science don't think they can "trust the principal at her word." Turnover at the school has increased, according to the official school report cards. For newer teachers, turnover has been higher than 20%, reaching 35% in some years, in contrast to comparable schools like Manhattan's Stuyvesant High, where turnover for newer teachers was 4% in 2007-8. The percentage of teachers at Bronx Science with three years or less experience has increased from 10% in 2004-5 to 17% in 2008-2009 to about 36% in 2009-10 and the school has not hired a tenured teacher or counselor in the past two years.

Picketers distributed a letter to Bronx Science faculty from UFT President Michael Mulgrew, which described Klein's lack of action "an unacceptable response to what has become a critical situation in your school." Chapter Leader Lamphere added that "The DOE and the national media would like to have the public believe that teachers are only disciplined in order to improve educational outcomes, but this fact-finder's report exposes that good teachers have fallen victim to supervisors who abused their power."

Contact: Peter Lamphere - 917-969-5658

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fight Back Fridays: John Jay Campus in Brooklyn


MORNING PICKET AGAINST THE BUDGET CUTS!

STAND UP FOR JOHN JAY STUDENTS!


Who: ALL THREE SCHOOLS in the John Jay building!
Where: In front of the school!

When: June 11 (tomorrow) 7:30-8 am (we will also picket Friday June 18, Friday June 25, and Monday June 28!)

A group of teachers from Research and Law (not sure about Journalism) have been meeting to discuss the devastating effect the budget cuts will have on the 2011 school year, summer school, and in general, the attacks on public schools. We discussed the role charter schools have on the privatization of PUBLIC education, how public schools, especially inner-city schools with students of color, have historically been under-funded and now face even more cut backs as city, state, and federal governments try to solve the current economic crisis on the backs of teachers, students, and other working people.

OUR STUDENTS DID NOT CAUSE WALL STREET’S CRISIS. THEY SHOULD NOT PAY FOR IT!

We need to STAND UP and DEMAND that our SCHOOLS get bailed out, not Wall Street!

Please join us tomorrow morning 7:30-8:00 am in front of the school to protest these cut backs and to demand FULL FUNDING for public schools!

The other schools don’t start school until 8:30, so they are coming early to accommodate SSL’s 8 am start-time. SO WE HAVE TO BE THERE FULL FORCE!!!!!

I will be picking up coffee and doughnuts! SEE YOU THERE!

Check out photos and reports from similar protests from the 25 NYC public schools that picketed their schools June 4 at the Grassroots Education Movement’s website - http://grassrootseducationmovement.blogspot.com/2010/06/june-4-tweed-protest-against-budget.html

In solidarity,

John Yanno, UFT Chapter Chair.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 4th - Protest at Tweed

Report on the City wide June 4th, School Budget Cuts Protest in front of the York City Department of Education's Tweed building.

June 4th - PS 197M


About 30 teachers, parents and students participated in the protest in front of PS 197M on Friday June 4th, 2010, day of Public School protests against budget cuts around New York City. We blocked one traffic lane directing cars and buses to the center lane. We heard a lot of Solidarity honking from drivers passing by. We were carrying posters saying, NO MORE BUDGET CUTS! CHARTERS BRIBE, PUBLIC SCHOOLS TEACH! PARENTS-TEACHERS UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! CHILDREN FIRST, NO CUTS IN EDUCATION! HANDS OFF TEACHERS, NO TO LAYOFFS! GOOD BYE DEMOCRACY PREP! We distributed the flyers from GEM-NYCore and the Truth about Charter Schools in New York City to pedestrians. They went like hot potatoes. It was a real collaborative work among parents and teachers.








June 4th - PS 24K

PS 24 had an amazing turnout for our June 4th protest. Over 125 participants total, with about 50 parents participating. We got 350 signatures on our petitions to the mayor to restore all funding to schools. We are on a main car, truck and pedestrian route in Brooklyn and the support from drivers and passersby was incredible. The students were right there with us, behind the gate cheering and chanting. We are all feeling very inspired!

Sam Coleman, Teacher PS 24




Saturday, June 5, 2010